Next Gen UI for GIS

Interesting to think that GIS UI’s are in for some major changes. Next gen GIS users will bring UI expectations from the OGL, DirectX, WPF, X3D, XNA world. It seems the biggest UI transform is just navigating a camera (avatar) in 3D rather than 2.5D.
See VerySpatial’s Lost in the Virtual Fog

GIS UIs currently follow the usual 2.5D OS interactions with primarily Mouse event handling. There are 3D analogies to current 2.5D interaction.

MouseEnter, MouseLeave – rollover
Passive select – 3D intersect media changes (popups, text, film, photo, etc) would correspond to current 2.5D rollover events

MouseClick, Double Click
Active select – corresponding 3D click events are just as necessary in a 3D virtual world – perhaps a virtual laser pointer not much different than the shoot’em game scenario. The virtual point device has a straight line of sight intersect in the scene graph.
WPF 3D hit testing

    RayHitTestParameters hitParams =
        new RayHitTestParameters(
            new Point3D(0, 0, 0),
            new Vector3D(1, 0, 0)
            );
    VisualTreeHelper.HitTest(visual3d, null, ResultCallback, hitParams);

MouseMove, MouseWheel – Pan, Drag, and zoom
Pan and Zoom is analogous to camera control in 3D. Navigation in 3D is a bit more complex including not just 3D camera position, but a 3D vector ‘look direction’ , ‘up direction’, and also ‘field of view’: WPF 3D Tutorial

   <Viewport3D.Camera>
    <PerspectiveCamera
	  FarPlaneDistance="100"
	  LookDirection="-11,-10,-9"
	  UpDirection="0,1,0"
	  NearPlaneDistance="1"
	  Position="11,10,9"
	  FieldOfView="70" />
    </Viewport3D.Camera>

Manipulating a camera in 3D is cumbersome using typical Mouse event handling. 3D navigation replacement of pan and zoom is better suited to a new device altogether. iPhone/WII like inertial sensor navigation can’t be far away. A 3D mouse is just a mouse freed from its 2D pad, a stripped down inertial sensor device or more sensitive WII wand. Now there are direction and tilt events, as well as move events for a more natural camera view control.

Beyond 2.5D analogies
There seem to be some innovative gesture interactions arriving with thanks to the iPhone.


Touch Pack for Windows 7

Extending hand gestures to 3D is further down the road but obviously one step further in the immersive direction. GIS is headed down the virtual reality path.

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